May 31, 2022

National Student Affairs Leader Selected as Vice President for Student Life

Dr. Evette Castillo Clark will become the vice president of student life effective August 1.
  • Dr. Evette Castillo Clark
    Nina Johnson

Lewis & Clark has chosen a national leader in student affairs innovation and best practices to be the next vice president of student life and dean of students (VPSL) for the college.

Dr. Evette Castillo Clark, associate vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion at Saint Mary’s College of California, has nearly three decades of experience in student affairs. She served as associate vice president and dean of students at Saint Mary’s before taking on her current role there. She also served in a variety of student affairs positions at other private and public universities, becoming known for her innovative, strategic, inclusive, and collaborative approaches and her ability to build effective partnerships between student affairs, academic affairs, and other university functions.

Clark will take on the VPSL role effective August 1. Dr. Robin Holmes-Sullivan becomes Lewis & Clark’s 26th president on July 1, but will do double duty as VPSL until Clark arrives.

“We are delighted to have such a talented, innovative leader joining us in this critical position,” President Wim Wiewel said of Clark’s appointment. “She has big shoes to fill in replacing Robin, but I have no doubt she is up to the task.”

Noting that the past two years have been particularly difficult for students, Clark said she is looking forward to “being a champion for the student voice and developing plans and priorities that are student-focused and student-centered.”

“I am a firm believer that when a student feels connected, included, and invested, they will have a greater sense of belonging to their campus community,” Clark said. “I want to help move the needle on increased initiatives that will positively impact belonging and inclusion, and therefore retention.”

Holmes-Sullivan, who was instrumental in recruiting Clark to Lewis & Clark, said she is excited about having the respected student affairs leader join the college’s senior leadership team.

“I am thrilled that someone of Clark’s stature and expertise is becoming part of our community,” Holmes-Sullivan said. “Her commitment to the student experience is strong, and I am certain she will make an immediate positive impact on our college.”

Holmes-Sullivan noted that the new VPSL is well known in the field of student affairs, both for her expertise and as a thought leader. “But what I am most excited about is her strong passion for students and student success,” the incoming president said.

Clark began her career in student affairs overseeing student leadership and outreach services at the University of San Francisco. Recognized for her energy, passion, vision, and relatability, she quickly worked her way up through a variety of student affairs leadership roles at several universities before landing at Saint Mary’s College as dean of students. She also spent considerable time in the classroom, serving as an adjunct professor and visiting professor at the University of New Orleans from 2007–12.

In addition to her work at the college and university level, Clark has been active in state and national organizations, including serving on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), the National Academic Advising Association, and the American Council on Education Northern California Women’s Network. The NASPA Asian Pacific Islander Knowledge Community honored her in 2017 with the Doris Michiko Ching Shattering the Glass Ceiling Award for her student affairs leadership, scholarship, and service. In 2021, she was honored as a NASPA Pillar of the Profession.

Clark received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California at Irvine in 1991. She received her master’s degree in student personnel administration in higher education from New York University in 1993 and her doctorate in international and multicultural education from the University of San Francisco in 2002. She is also a fellow and graduate of the Center for Studies of Higher Education’s Executive Leadership Academy through the University of California at Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy.